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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:24 am 
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The temple of Ma’at was quiet. Sunlight streamed in the windows far above, tricking it’s way down the painted columns. Braziers smoldered on the altar, filling the air with calming incense. The walls adorned with tapestries detail great moral victories made by those who followed the teachings, benches placed beneath each for contemplation. Normally the floor in front of the altar would be covered with a mat and kneeling pillows for those that needed guidance. All such comforts had been removed.

Nekat knelt on the cold sandstone floor, numb. Just two hours before, judgement had been past on her actions, and she had been found guilty. She did not regret what she had done. Her actions had lead to the truth, and in the end that is what mattered. The tau’ri had been cleared of any wrongdoing, Daniel and his friends were free to go home. The code of Ma’at had been upheld. Her heart should have been filled with joy and a good measure of pride. It was not. For the path of truth often extracted high toll.

The soft patter of leather on stone heralded the arrival of her sisters. Nekat did not look up. She didn’t want to see the sadness on their faces, or worse their disappointment. One of them removed her jewelry: the gold bracelets, the lapis earrings, the precious pectoral that Ima’he had specially made for her. They were place in a cedar chest, the lid closing with the thud of finality. There was the rasp of metal on leather, and another began to cut away the fine linen clothes. These were place in a large metal bowl in the altar beside her. Soon, she was down to a simple bandeau and kilt. The air was thick with the days heat, but never had she felt so cold.

The setmaa formed a circle around her, waiting. Nekat wished she could stop time right there, up until now the dread had been manageable. Rek gesi, time flows. There was the slightest whisper of movement, and Nekat felt her heart drop with in her. Her throat constricted tight, only allowing the tiniest amount of breath. Through a haze of tears, she could barely see the sandaled feet that stopped in front of her.

A gentle hand reached down and cupped her chin, lifting it until their gazes met. “If there was another way, child, we would do it gladly. But no one person can be above our law, no matter how much we love them. It is not fair, it is not just, but it is essential or our words mean nothing.” Nekat tried to reply, but only a strangled sob escaped. Here was Sekhmet, standing over her, just as she had done that day so many years ago. The day she had pulled Nekat out of the dirt and breathed new life into her. That had been the day of Nekat’s birth, and today would be her death.

“I understand, Ima’he,” She finally replied, her voice barely a whisper. “but in my heart of hearts you will always be Men’way.” My Mother. Sekhmet’s thumb traced Nekat’s cheek, wiping away tears that fell heedless from her eyes. For just a moment Sekhmet's gaze softened, and Nekat felt a mother’s love one last time. With a sharp breath, Sekhmet straightened, once again the fiercely proud ruler. With a gesture, Ima'he summoned the knife to her hand and Nakat bowed her head.

One of the Setmaa retrieved the bowl from the altar and stood to Ima'he Sekhmet's left. “We are here to commemorate the life of Im’abseti Nekat, Our dearest daughter.” As she spoke, the goa’ulds fingers laced through Nekat’s braids. “She was a proud warrior, ferocious to her enemies and just to those she defeated.” With every statement, the blade in Sekhmet’s hand sliced off another braid. “She was a learned adviser to us, overseeing our estates and aiding us in the running of our domain. She loved her people and treated all with equal respect. She was beautiful, she was kind and gentle. She was the joy in our days.” With a hollow ring, the last braid fell into the bowl.

With no hesitation, Sekhmet took the bowl from sister Neru and turned her back. “D’weyus!” She commanded, casting out the young woman behind her. “You are not she, for our Nekat is dead to us.” A nudge from the goa’ulds hand device and the braids erupted in flame. All of the brave deeds each bead represented were consumed by the flames, leaving nothing. “May her soul find peace in the halls of Du’at.” Without another word, or even a glance of acknowledgement, the Ima’he turned and walked from the temple. The Setmaa followed behind.

The young woman stood and staggered to one of the benches, dropping her face into her hands. It was then that the Tau’ri came out of the shadows. How long he had been there was a mystery, but the air of sincere concern surrounding him let her know he had seen more than enough. He sat silently beside her, just lending his quiet strength. In time she lifted her head, wiped her eyes, and began to comb out her ragged hair.

“This probably isn’t what you want to hear right now,” Daniel said softly. “but I wanted to thank you for what you did, and apologize for putting you through all of this.”

“It was nothing.”

Daniel’s brows climbed well above his glasses. “I’m sorry but this…” He gestured emphatically about the temple, with a final wave to the still smoldering bowl. “This was NOT nothing.”

The young woman shakes her head. “You are mistaken. I am not the woman who did those things. I am only Tahirah, daughter of Mausika, gone these many years.”

Daniel regarded her so intently she had to resist the urge to look away. After what seemed ages, he nodded. Unconsciously wiping his hand on his pant leg, he held it out to her in the Tau’ri gesture of greeting. “Tahirah, I’m Daniel Jackson of Earth. It is an honor to meet you.”

A ghost of a smile touched Tahirah’s lips. He understood. “The honor is mine, Doctor Jackson.”

“Please, call me Daniel. I get the feeling we are going to be good friends.”

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